Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Salad

Christmas salad? Really? Isn't this the wrong season? Well, it is red and green and white, and I have an excuse—a new toy. Meet my spiralizer.

It all started in Skibbereen a couple of weeks ago, when we had lunch at the café attached to the West Cork Arts Center. Those nice people were responsible for the amazing red (beet and carrot) soup I wrote about here a while back. They make good food there, including desserts, which of course we had to investigate thoroughly.

They had a beet salad on the menu. Have I mentioned before that I don’t like beets? Well, I’ll have to edit that opinion: I don’t like the gummy sweet kind my mother used to serve. But the simple raw version is growing on me, so I tried the salad.

What was intriguing was that the beets formed a kind of spaghetti-like cluster on top of the greens. You’d think by now I’d have every kitchen gadget known to humankind, but somehow I’d missed the spiralizer. So now I have one (a rather rudimentary version, I will admit—I will have to investigate further options).

Before I tackled the beet recipe I had to experiment with the little critter. Carrots bombed—too tough. Turnips worked once I peeled them. So did potatoes. The zucchini was a pleasant surprise--it worked very well. Apples were a disaster—they fell apart. But the raw beets, once peeled, came out fine. (Note: I now have a stash of vegetable strings in the fridge. Not all would I want to eat raw, so I parboiled the tougher ones for a couple of minutes before refrigerating them. Haven’t gotten to all of them yet, but I fried up the potato strings and they cooked up nice and crisp.)




I tracked down whichever salad green has the red stems (the packages weren’t much help—mostly they say something like “Leafy Medley. The Irish call them “mixed leaves” on menus) which was what the café used, and which fit the holiday color theme. Putting the salad together is simple:

--wash your leaves if necessary and spin dry. Array on individual medium-size plates.

--shred the beets.

--make a nest of your shredded beets (or whatever other vegetables you’re using) on top of the leaves.

--sprinkle with sunflower seeds (the white note)—toasting them briefly gives them a slightly mellower flavor, if you have the time and space in your oven.

--drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette (or any non-creamy dressing)


In hindsight I think marinating the shredded beets in the dressing would have been a good idea, but not for too long or they’d get soggy and limp.

The result? A pretty, easy-to-make dish to add to your holiday table.

And a giveaway! While the next County Cork Mystery, Many a Twist, will be out next month, I thought it would be more appropriate for the season to give away a hardcover copy of Cruel Winter, which takes place during a blizzard and involves cooking for a group of stranded strangers who are snowed in at the pub--and one of them might be a murderer.

Leave a comment by the end of Sunday and I'll pick a winner!


  1. Delicious recipe and I would love to read this book!

  2. Interesting salad. I have a spiralizer. I really must start using it! I love your County Cork mysteries.

  3. Love this series! Thanks for sharing the salad recipe. Dspinlexo at aol dot com.

  4. As an adult, I love beets. I had a bad encounter with them as a child, but now I love them steamed with butter, fixed Harvard style or pickled. I am thinking that the greens you use are baby beet greens? or baby Swiss chard? A spiralizer is high on my list of next-to-get for my kitchen. moodiesmum at yahoo dot com

  5. A very tempting salad with all the veggies I enjoy. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Stores like Fresh Market and Whole Foods have a vast array of spiralized veggies for sale--including butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I tried the butternut, but over-estimated how much time to leave it in the pan with some other goodies. Still tasty, just rather soft.
    I didn't know I liked beets until my sister grew them. Those over cooked frozen ones were worthless.

    This looks lovely.

  7. I was very proud of myself: I took all those spiralized veggies I didn't use in the salad, chopped them up a bit, and added them to tomato sauce last night. Tasty!

  8. I like salad but don’t eat it as much in the winter.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  9. That is a beautiful salad. Thanks for the recipe and the giveaway. aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. I don't have a spiralizer yet...I'll have to think about getting one! I imagine you could use the spiralized potatoes to make latkes.

    1. Actually I did try frying the potatoes in a cast iron pan--nice and crisp!

  11. I would enjoy this tasty salad and a spiralizer is just what I need since it would be used daily. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  12. I was gifted a spiralizer but have not opened the package yet. I love the colors for the winter salad.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  13. Who could pass up this great looking forward to the next County Cork book in the series...looks like a great read for the winter season!

  14. Reading this series has made me want to visit Ireland again.

  15. Salad sounds amazing. I haven't read this series yet, would love to read about Ireland.

  16. Salad looks amazing - love beets.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  17. The Cork County Series is one of my favorites. Merry Christmas to Every one! dbahn(at)iw(dot)net